Though former Police Officer Franklin Mata was acquitted of rape charges, he was sentenced Wednesday to 60 days in prison due to official misconduct, prompting an emotional response in the courtroom. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Former Police Officer Franklin Mata sniffled, his voice cracked and he fought back tears as he pleaded with the judge to be lenient.
"I never meant for anyone to get hurt that night," said Mata during the sentencing."I have lost respect from the people of New York City… I love my job and worked hard to get where I was. Now it is all gone."
"I really think you got to see Franklin Mata the human being,” said Ed Mandery, Mata’s defense attorney. “That's the person I've known all along. I've known it since I met him and you know, maybe the public got a bit more of a glimpse as to the human being that he is."
However, Judge Gregory Carro told Mata he will forever be a disgraced officer. He sentenced him to 60 days in prison and three years probation for official misconduct.
"If he had to do that night over again, it would have been done differently," said Mandery.
On Monday, Mata's partner Kenneth Moreno received a heftier sentence: an entire year in jail.
Both men were charged with rape after they helped a drunken 29-year-old woman to her East Village apartment in 2008. They left but were caught on surveillance going back several times.
Moreno admitted to lying down with the half-naked woman on her bed but said he only held her. Mata said he fell asleep on the couch. Jurors found the men not guilty of rape, but said they did violate police guidelines.
The judge questioned why Mata continued to cover up for his partner, saying the NYPD blue wall was very thick.
After the sentencing, Carlton Berkley, a retired detective, stood in front of the courthouse and voiced his agreement that there is clearly a problem with the blue wall of silence. He said good cops have to speak up when their partners do bad things.
"The blue wall of silence must be buried,” said Berkley. “With the blue wall of silence, it prevents officers from giving up other officers when they do something wrong."
Both men remain free as they fight to appeal their misdemeanor convictions.
Moreno is due back in court in September to face charges that heroin was found in his locker during the rape investigation.